EP 15: Should You Keep Your Home When Divorcing? (Part 1)

Welcome to the fifteenth episode of Divorce and Your Money Podcast. Your host, Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Analyst, discusses who should keep the marital home following a divorce.

This issue is usually a major financial decision involved in divorce. You need to know four key details before deciding what you want to do with your house: (1) whose name is on the title, (2) how much is the home worth, (3) how much equity you have in the house, and (4) maintenance costs.

You first need to see whose name is on the title.  Both spouses can be the owners of the house. If your name is not on the house, you might not be a legal owner of that property. It is very important to check the specific titling of the house. You also need to know if any lien exists on the house.

Then you need to determine how much your house is worth. You can use such online sources as Zillow or Redfin to determine the approximate value of your house. This information is not necessarily accurate, but it is free. The paid method is more precise, which involves hiring a real estate appraiser. Some firms specialize in divorce real estate appraisal. You should consider this option if you have an expensive or unique home.

Next you need to determine how much equity is in the house, which is the value of the house minus the mortgage. It is the money that is left after paying the mortgage. Regardless of the situation, you need to be aware of this amount.

Finally, you need to determine the maintenance costs of your house, for example, how much is required each month for the upkeep of the course? Having this information can save you from making a decision that will cost you a lot more later.

Key Learning Points:

  • Four key details are important: name on the title, value of the house, equity that you have, and maintenance costs.
  • Check to see whose name is on the title and if any lien exists.
  • Determine the value of the house using online sources or hire a real estate appraiser.
  • Determine how much equity is in the house.
  • Determine the monthly or yearly maintenance costs for the house.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. We hope the show helps you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. Shawn Leamon is also the author of Divorce and Your Money: The No Nonsense Guide. One-on-one divorce coaching services are available at www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

If you enjoyed the show, please take a moment to leave a review on iTunes, as it will help other people discover this helpful advice.

Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.